Sunday, February 26, 2006

Don Knotts, a very special man, passed away Friday

This has nothing to do with medicine but it's important enough to mention it here. Don Knotts, a very special person to me, passed away at age 81 on Friday.

His son Tom and I have been very close friends since my high school days. Of all of my friends' parents, Tom's dad was truly one of the nicest.

Tom and I were quite inseparable in high school along with two other friends, Stan Brooks and Jack Gindi. The four of us were always close in those early days (and remain so). More often than not we would be found hanging out at Tom's house.

Don loved spending time with our "gang" as well. He was always warm to us, always friendly and always very much the comedian. I recall many evenings where he would have us rolling over in laughter with his schtick (which was generally far more baudy than his Barney Fife persona). He taught us poker and we spent many late night marathon sessions together. He was always threatening to cut his son "out of the will" when he spent too much time cogitating over his hands.

The last time I saw Don was just over a year ago when he took Tom, his fiancee, my wife and me out for dinner. Afterwards we all went to his home and had a great time with him and his wife. He rarely talked about his long career in show business but my wife really drew him out that night. She was always a big fan of his.

What struck me that evening was how much he loved his career, the people he worked with, the experiences, the excitement. He seemed truly a man with no regrets; a man who had done it his way. I'll always cherish that last evening with him and the passion he shared for his craft which was quite simply making other people laugh.

Several years ago he gave my wife, and autographed, a beautiful animation cell from his movie, The Incredible Mr. Limpet. She's always loved that cell and now it's hanging in our 3-year-old daughter's bedroom. Whenever I look at it, I know it will make me smile.

He will be missed.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, what a moving and fitting tribute. And "Limpet" was my favorite of all of his movies (and I've seen them all). You were fortunate to have known him personally, and to have shared those special times.

Thank you for sharing this with us.

February 28, 2006 8:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing this with us. i think the good comedians among us are some of the most courageous artists, and they bring light to an often dark world. ignore my post today, it rings hollow when reading this :)

March 02, 2006 2:56 PM  
Blogger John J. Coupal said...

Don also worked with Steve Allen in the earliest days of black & white TV. Live broadcasts often, before the days of tape, so humor had to be right the first time. Don was a pioneer in TV comedy.

March 06, 2006 1:15 PM  
Blogger The Medicine Man said...


You're quite right about that. In fact Don used to speak about those days with a mixture of exhilaration and abject terror. Everyone was scared sick doing those live broadcasts and they had almost NO time to rehearse!


March 07, 2006 11:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice job Fordbird.

March 15, 2006 12:52 PM  
Blogger The Medicine Man said...

Thanks Stan,


March 15, 2006 6:04 PM  
Blogger Robert W Donnell said...

That's a wonderful tribute and a great picture. You may have seen this, but posted some stories and video files on Don Knotts recently:

March 15, 2006 6:41 PM  

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